By Katrina Angco
The UP Fighting Maroons’ victory over the DLSU Green Archers couldn’t be sweeter for anyone else than rookie Mikee Reyes. Aside from posting a career high of 25 points, the best output of any freshman player this season, he also got to accomplish his personal mission: to outdo the Archers.
“I really wanted to beat La Salle,” said Reyes, who went to La Salle Greenhills (LSGH) for highschool. His desire did not go unsatisfied, as he led the Maroons in giving the Archers their fourth consecutive loss in Season 72, registering six assists and five rebounds on top of shooting 50 percent from the field and the perimeter.
The 5’9 point guard played for the LSGH Junior Blazers. But instead of choosing Taft as his home in the college league, he decided to bring his magic to Diliman.
UP’s underdog status in the UAAP enticed Reyes to suit up for the Maroons. “I think I wanted the challenge because UP hasn’t won anything,” he said. Undeniably, he took this challenge head on and made his mark as a playmaker that also provides his team with offense.
“He’s our energy player,” said men’s basketball team head coach Aboy Castro. He likens Reyes to PBA player Jimmy Alapag, who is known to be a speedy point guard as well as good perimeter shooter.
The Sports Science major was exposed by his parents to basketball at an early age. “When I was a baby, my crib even had a [basketball] hoop inside,” he shared.
He started attending basketball camps while he was in prep at the Ateneo. His father, a former San Beda Red Lion, is highly influential in his athletic career. “He gives me tips and tells me which things I have to improve on,” he said.
The women in Reyes’s life are also all very supportive of his basketball career. His mom and four sisters are always present in his games to act as his own cheering squad, complete with # 9 Reyes jerseys. His girlfriend, on the other hand, doesn’t just provide him with inspiration, but also helps him deal with the demands of life as a student-athlete.
Like most college ballers, Reyes aspires to join the professional ranks in the future. But for now, he is focused on bringing back the basketball glory to UP.
“The future is very bright for us,” he said. Reyes believes that the team has enough talent and with hard work, soon, they will get to the promised land.